LHNCC supports Trinity Community Council‘s request to Edinburgh Council for ‘suitable investment’. Here is the text of that request:
FAO: Cllr Ian Perry, Convener of the Education, Children & Families Committee
Cllr Alison Dickie, Vice Convener of the Education, Children & Families Committee Cllr Adam McVey, Council Leader
Cllr Cammy Day, Deputy Council Leader
Alistair Gaw, Executive Director Communities & Families Committee Services, City of Edinburgh Council
Schools play a particular role in Trinity since the area has no other publicly owned infrastructure.
Trinity Academy itself is situated in the centre of the Trinity area, in Craighall Road. Nearby in Craighall Gardens are the Bangholm playing fields which serve not only as a sports area for the school but are also used by Trinity Academy FP rugby club, and Waverley Inverness Trinity hockey club. The school maintains close links with both the rugby club and others who use these facilities. Nearby is Trinity Primary School, one of the feeder primary schools to the Secondary in the area, the others being Wardie and Victoria. Holy Cross, while not being on the list of feeder schools, is nearby and also provides pupils to Trinity Academy.
This year the school celebrates its 125th anniversary and officially is the oldest school in Edinburgh still occupying its original building. There have been additions in the 1960s, and 1990s which have extended the buildings but there has been no significant expenditure on Trinity for some time. Five years ago the lack of funding led to issues in the ceiling above the swimming school, which forced its closure. This has impacted not only on the Academy but neighbouring Primary Schools which used this facility. To date, it remains closed with pupils no longer receiving swimming lessons. A number of community groups also used the pool and have lost this valuable resource.
The last major refurbishment of Trinity Academy took place in 1995. Since then the fabric of the school has deteriorated and facilities available to both the school and the wider community have not kept pace with modern requirements. They are no longer adequate and fit for purpose. In August 2015 the school was identified by the Council as one of 4 schools that urgently needed substantial investment. It was categorised in its wave 4 list which should have meant work would commence. That was two and a half years ago and nothing has been done, other than minor cosmetic work. None of this has enhanced the learning spaces and the building continues to deteriorate. The Community Council remains extremely concerned about its safety to both pupils and staff as well as the opportunity which is being missed through a failure to properly develop the potential of the site for the entire community.
Looking ahead, it is projected that the School Roll will increase to 950 pupils. However, with classrooms in need of repair and a dining hall which struggles to cope with the 811 pupils it currently has, the Community Council are unsure how the Council plans to adequately provide for this increase.
Through a Council feasibility study (and there have been a few) there were proposals made which suggested relocating the gym halls from the main building to Bangholm and then redeveloping the combined gym hall/swimming pool complex. This could create more classrooms, and better dining facilities. This would certainly go some way to making this school suitable for the suggested increase in pupil numbers. The Councils own projections show that the school will breach capacity in 2024.
Trinity Primary school has recently had additional classrooms installed (and is building more) to prepare for an increase in numbers. Wardie has also expanded to offer nursery provision. Victoria Primary school is about to be rebuilt on a new site, with an increase in classrooms as well. Nearby housing developments in Granton, Newhaven and Leith will add further to the demand for secondary places and exacerbate pressures on an institution which is already straining to provide the statutory standard of service. There is a real danger that if nothing is done soon, the area faces a huge catastrophe for both the school and the community.
Putting finance in place and working together a huge amount could be achieved:
At present course choices are limited to what the building can accommodate and are fairly traditional in nature. Technology is dated with the infrastructure not up to the modern standards expected of a Community High school. Reworking the present buildings would very much allow this to be a forward-thinking school and also provide the community with the facilities it needs. Adult evening and sports classes could well link in with the work the school is doing with its pupils and provide much needed support to the community and the Trinity area.
As already mentioned, the future school roll suggests 950 but current numbers at 811 already present problems. Dining hall, sports facilities, drama rooms and music provision are not adequate and would struggle to meet Scottish Government guidelines. With the expectation of increased numbers in the Primary School catchment areas, by 2024 there would be serious capacity issues if this was not tackled now.
Improved educational standards
The inclusive nature of improved facilities would very much allow the school to look at closing the attainment gap and allow the school to focus on additional support for learning in a supportive and modern environment. Something which the Scottish Government has been promoting. Educational standards would improve with the advent of a newly-designed and extensively rebuilt school – one that the Trinity community and the City could justifiably be proud of.
The school already serves the areas of Granton, Wardie, Inverleith, Trinity, Newhaven, Fort and Leith so it could, with an improved school, provide much needed educational and community provision. Pupils, past and present, parents, teachers, and the whole Trinity area would benefit from an extensive school rebuilding programme. The Trinity Community Council remains committed to work with Parents, School and Council in order to achieve what we believe could be a huge success.
Within the Trinity area the Community Council very much sees the schools as the beating heart of our community, providing families with the education they require, and facilities which the area desperately needs.
Community facilities – there are no sports facilities in the Trinity area outside of the Academy and with its ageing infrastructure there is an urgent need for more funds to be available so that we can take this school into the 21st Century. At present the state of the school has been patched up but more needs done. Both the Trinity Community Council and the Parent Council are keen to work together to achieve success for Trinity and for Edinburgh.
Twenty five years ago it was a school working very much with our European neighbours – pupils often visited other countries with foreign pupils making reciprocal visits. Close links and friendships were made. Although some of these still exist today, there is great, currently unrealised, potential to expand this wider engagement, if the building was in a better state.
Teaching staff, ably lead by both Bryan Paterson and Susan Cook, have worked wonders with the facilities they currently have but more desperately needs done. The Council, with assistance from the Scottish Government has the chance to provide the help needed. This needs to begin now and we sincerely hope that the Council will, therefore, take this forward at its meeting on the 22nd May.
On behalf of Trinity Community Council Tim Parker, Interim Chair
Bill Rodger, Treasurer